Severely damaged Longfellow small businesses receive urgent financial support for reconstruction; many residents face extreme difficulties shopping for food and necessities.
MINNEAPOLIS – June 12, 2020
ADX Labs, Inc. has provided an urgently needed grant of $40,000 to the Longfellow Business Association, to aid local small businesses to recover from looting damage. The donation was made by ADX Labs’ charitable arm, the ADX Foundation.
Steven M. Renner, founder and CEO of ADX Labs and chairman of the ADX Foundation said, “The tragic death of George Floyd in police custody resulted in peaceful protests but also extensive looting and truly terrible property damage. Here in Minneapolis, the Longfellow neighborhood has been particularly hard hit. This vibrant and diverse neighborhood has largely been reduced to rubble, and residents are experiencing great difficulties sourcing food and services from the many small business owners who have seen their premises destroyed. The ADX Foundation immediately stepped up to provide a grant to the Longfellow Business Association, which has pledged that every dollar will be utilized helping local small businesses get back on their feet, so their community can thrive again.”
The Longfellow Business Association’s Executive Director Kim Jakus said, “Our Association has been serving neighborhood businesses and non-profits for the last 25 years. Over the last week, around 50 of our Longfellow businesses and non-profits were looted and damaged in the wake of the violent death of George Floyd. ADX’s grant will allow us to give direct grants to businesses in Longfellow to help cover insurance deductibles, repairs, relocations and eventually help with equitable rebuilding."
Korboi “KB” Balla, owner of fire-damaged Scores Sports Bar said, “There are a lot of unknowns right now, but the community is what gives me hope to reopen.” Mr. Balla said that when businesses were burned down, “people came from far and wide to help clean up, and it's unreal how much the community has come together."
John Flomer, co-owner of local restaurant Midori’s Floating World Café, which was also looted and destroyed said that many residents' main concern is losing the community they love so much. “It’s all small businesses here, and we feel like we’re bleeding in the streets and waiting for the medics,” said Mr. Flomer.
Longfellow Business Association co-chairperson and owner of local business Big Bell Ice Cream James Freid said, “LBA members are invested in the local community because we are part of the local community. Now, more than ever, we have the responsibility to respond quickly to assist local businesses and organizations. Every business and organization that reopens brings new hope and life back to our community. When Longfellow is alive, vibrant, open, and safe we can once again proudly call it home.”
KB Balla continued, “I’m like everyone else in this community: still trying to figure stuff out. Even though our bar was looted and then burned down, I’m one-hundred-percent going to reopen. It’s the community that gives me hope to reopen.”
John Flomer added, “People in our community are scared that without support to rebuild, it may be the end of the mom-and-pop businesses. A lot of folks’ insurance doesn’t cover riots and looting. The main thing we want is to know there is hope, that there is help on the way.” Like Mr. Balla, Mr. Flomer expressed deep thanks for his community, saying, “The reason our building is still standing is because neighbors stood in front of it to keep it from being set on fire. The community came together, and Midori and I are doing all we can to give back to our community.”
Lamberto “LV” Vergara, owner of damaged local community hub LV’s Barber Shop said, “Our barbershop provides more than a haircut to our neighbors. The community relies on us for therapy, for support. Especially for the local kids, we’re like mentors for so many of them. Anything we can do to keep the kids on a positive path, we do. It’s a beautiful thing to see that local small businesses can have that kind of impact. Asked about how LV’s Barber Shop was affected by the recent looting and destruction, LV Vergara said, “We were looking forward to going back to work on June 1st, when Minneapolis was due to re-open, but then George Floyd was murdered and we were devastated. Then, independent of peaceful protest, the looting began. Young people in this neighborhood offered to protect our building from damage but I said no, because it was just too dangerous for them.”
The role of the Longfellow Business Association is critical to exactly the calls to help our community that Mr. Balla, Mr. Flomer and Mr. Vergara have made. Mr. Renner concluded, “ADX Labs is committed to supporting an inclusive, diverse and thriving Twin Cities. Coming during the coronavirus pandemic, the devastation of Longfellow’s businesses has resulted in yet more unemployment, and we hope local businesses can rehire all employees. We call on other Minneapolis businesses to donate.”
About ADX Labs, Inc.
ADX Labs, Inc. (ADX) is a Minneapolis-founded and headquartered technology company focused on providing innovative products and services for individuals, home-based businesses, and the small to medium enterprise (SME) market. ADX independently funds the ADX Foundation, a registered non-profit philanthropic organization which has invested in children, communities, and social justice since 2013. Learn more at http://adxlabs.com